Thursday, December 1, 2016

Seibu Lions 2017 Salary Tracker

Okawari-kun writes "Ganbaru" for "working hard" as his motto for 2017
December is the month of contract negotiations for all NPB teams. Rather than sign the dotted line on a multi-year deal, salaries can go up or down depending on how a player's performance was the previous season. Some will take paycuts for a poor year, while a great year will bring a raise.

Here is a collection of all the Saitama Seibu Lions reported salaries for 2017. All figures are estimates and not exact.  This list will be updated as time goes on.  If there were any missed wages reported, please let us know.  

^ - Raise

|v| - Paycut

= - Same wages

N = New player


Yusei Kikuchi: ¥100 million  ^
Hirotaka Koishi: ¥15 million ^
Koki Fujita: ¥5 million =
Kentaro Fukukura ¥6 million |v|
Naoaki Matsumoto: ¥5 million =
Chun-Lin Kuo: ¥30 million =
Brian Wolfe: ¥60 million ^
Brian Schlitter: ¥80 million N
Tadasuke Minamikawa: ¥10 million =
Ryohei Fujiwara: ¥9.5 million |v|
Toshihiro Iwao: ¥8.5 million |v|
Tsubasa Kokuba: ¥6 million
Isamu Sato: ¥6 million ^
Tatsuya Oishi: ¥15 million ^
Kona Takahashi: ¥23 million ^
Tomomi Takahashi: ¥48 million |v|
Tatsushi Masuda: ¥95 million ^
Ken Togame: ¥60 million |v|
Kazuhisa Makita: ¥100 million ^ (Turned down two-year contract, expected free agent after 2017)
Shinsaburo Tawata: ¥23 million ^
Yasuo Sano: ¥13 million ^
Ryoma Nogami: ¥50 million |v|
Yusuke Tamamura: ¥5.5 million |v|
Makoto Aiuchi: ¥6 million |v|
Takuya Toyoda: ¥9.5 millions |v|
Shota Takekuma: ¥50 million ^
Yosuke Okamoto: ¥18 million |v|
Seiji Kawagoe: ¥12 million =



Ginjiro Sumitani: ¥100 million =
Tatsuyuki Uemoto: ¥16 million ^
Shota Nakata: ¥5.8 million |v|
Komei Fujisawa: ¥5 million =
Masatoshi Okada: ¥16 million ^
Tomoya Mori: ¥45 million ^



Takeya Nakamura: ¥410 million  =
Yuji Onizaki: ¥23 million =
Nien Ting Wu: ¥8 million ^
Kazuki Kaneko: ¥5.5 million |v|
Ernesto Mejia: ¥350 million ^
Haruka Yamada: ¥6 million =
Yuji Kaneko: ¥48 million ^
Hotaka Yamakawa: ¥16 million ^
Daichi Mizuguchi: ¥5.5 million ^
Naoto Watanabe: ¥50 million |v|
Kyohei Nagae: ¥12.5 million ^



Shogo Saito: ¥14 million |v|
Masato Kumashiro: ¥13 million |v|
Yutaro Osaki: ¥18.5 million |v|
Ryo Sakata: ¥15 million ^
Shogo Akiyama: ¥200 million ^ (3-year contract through 2019)
Daisuke Togawa: ¥5 million =
Takumi Kuriyama: ¥190 million |v|
Fumikazu Kimura: ¥14 million |v|
Shuta Tonosaki: ¥13 million |v|
Aito Otaki: ¥6 million =
Shotaro Tashiro ¥6 million |v|



P Tatsuya Imai: ¥13 million
P Shunta Nakatsuka: ¥12 million
IF Sosuke Genda: ¥12 million
OF Shohei Suzuki: ¥6 million
P Katsunori Hirai: ¥10 million
P Ichiro Tamura: ¥7 million

Note: Signing bonuses are not included in this listing. Some have a higher bonus than others and it isn't listed here. 



IF Shogo Kimura: ¥7.5 million ^


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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Report: Seibu Lions sign Akiyama to three-year contract

In the period of contract negotiations, the Saitama Seibu Lions kept one player to stay with the team. Shogo Akiyama was signed to a three year contract on Thursday.

Akiyama, 28, would have been close to being a domestic free agent about to reach seven years of service time with the Lions after 2017. He will make an estimated ¥200 million next season, an increase of ¥50 million from last year.

In 2015, Akiyama set the single-season record for hits with 216, breaking what was once set by Matt Murton in 2010. Last year, Akiyama would have a slashline of .291/.362/.417 with 11 home runs and 32 doubles. He continued to be the team's leadoff hitter while spending time around the lineup in the middle of the season.

Akiyama was one of two players to be play every single game for the Lions in 2016 with the other being Hideto Asamura. He also appeared in every inning without being substituted.


Other notes:

-Ginjiro Sumitani will make ¥100 million in 2017 as he enters a contract year. (The second of a 2-year deal). No wage change from 2016.

-Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura will enter a contract year and make ¥410 million with no change in salary from 2016. He is in the last of a four-year deal.


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Kishi thanks the Lions, fans in final farewell

The Saitama Seibu Lions hosted Thanks Festa on 11/23 at Seibu Dome as a final goodbye to the 2016 NPB season. All other NPB teams do the same, as in Japan, they do their equivalent of fanfest after the season rather than before it.

Despite leaving for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in free agency, Takayuki Kishi was in a Lions uniform for the final time and attended the event. He was introduced like every other player at the start of the event and was greeted with cheers by the fans.

Throughout the league, this has been a common procedure even though players aren't required to attend this event. Like Kishi, outgoing players Yoshio Itoi of the Orix Buffaloes and Daikan Yoh (Yang) were in attendance at their respective fanfests. Last year, Ryota Wakiya was a participant after it was already known that he filed to be a free agent and wasn't likely to return.

For Kishi, he was given a chance to speak to the fans one last time before leaving. He admitted he wasn't comfortable participating, but felt it was part of his duty to be present.

"I was worried about if I should join the thank festa today, but I decided to say thank you here as I don't like to leave without saying anything all the fans who have supported me," Kishi said in a speech.

Kishi was given a medal to commemorate reaching 1,500 career innings pitched. In 1,521 innings, all with the Lions, he had a career 3.05 ERA and 1,243 strikeouts over the course of the last 10 seasons. He was the final Kibouwaku draft pick, where the Lions would forego the first three rounds of the 2006 draft in order to obtain his rights.

He will be most remembered in 2008, where he took the Japan Series by storm. He would win Game 4 and later take a must-win Game 6 in long relief en route to the last Seibu Lions Japan Series championship. Kishi was named the 2008 Japan Series MVP as a result. He also threw a no-hitter in 2014, which is the last one to occur in NPB.

As Kishi turns 32 next week, he will get to return home to be with the Eagles as he is a Sendai native. Earlier this month, he signed a four year contract worth an estimated $4 million in annual salary.

Fans who listened gave him applause, but everyone knows he will enter another chapter in his baseball career.

"I have managed to play for these 10 years thanks to all your warm support, which I really appreciate and am so grateful for," Kishi said. "I will continue doing my best with this grateful feeling. Again, thank you all."


Special thanks to @shiba_scope and Mizuho Miyazaki for translation help. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

An open letter to all minor leaguers: Embrace baseball abroad

Note: This is a hypothetical letter I would write to any baseball player who has spent a significant amount of times in the minor leagues. This is nothing more than my thoughts expressed in the form of a mock letter to them.

Dear Minor League Player:

It's that time of the year again where free agency strikes and many are looking for jobs. Sure, there are some high profile guys who are guaranteed to some a big contract somewhere else with a Major League club.

However, we're aware of how tough life can be for someone who spent a lot of time in the minors. It's not even easy for someone who will bounce up and down between the 25-man roster and on the fringe of the majors.

I give you the message to embrace baseball abroad. Offers won't come everywhere and understandably so. Straight up higher pay will be an easy option if a team in Korea or Japan gives more than a minor league contract. Yes, it will take a lot to swallow some pride of turning down a shot at the majors, but this journey is a unique experience.

Signed a contract to play overseas?  Great! Here's some tips:

Embrace the culture of where you're headed: Whether it's Korea or Japan, there will always be plenty of changes besides the obvious language differences. Don't approach your team as only a place to collect a paycheck. Sure, it can understandably be a first motive, but don't show it. Making early impressions within the team and area can go a long way.

Learn a few sayings in another language: Don't be like Jonny Gomes and be in shock that players speak another language. You will be dependent on your interpreter quite a bit and no one will blame you. However, don't be reserved, go out of your comfort zone and take some pointers from former players and others.

Inspect your bags before and after packing: Don't be caught with something illegal. Bring what you feel would be appropriate in the new country you're headed to. Anything that is inappropriate (i.e. weapon, drugs) should be removed. 

Never give up: Yes, this sounds like a cliche phrase that we always hear, but you'll notice that players abroad will workout to death. They will have a lot to expect from you too. You will have to pounce at any opportunity you're given.

Did you sign in Japan? Here's some advice we can give based on observation with the league:

There are no fastball counts: If you are a hitter, don't expect a fastball to ever come on a 2-0 count. It sounds easy to hear this and let it go, but beware. This is one of the largest differences between Japan and baseball in the States that everyone seems to notice. Pitchers in Japan will throw what they are comfortable with and do whatever it takes to get someone out. There is no "control your fastball" mentality in Japan. If you're a pitcher, expect the catcher you're working with to do the same.

Be careful with your body: As earlier mentioned, players will workout to death and you'll notice it right away. They practice before a scheduled practice and will continue to even do activity afterwards. It might sound insane to you. If you're not required to take part in some exercises, don't take it all at full speed. Japan's players may not be strongest or fastest athletes in the world, but they have to be one of the better conditioned with how much training happens all year long. An early injury could lead to a setback.

The manager is always right: This might sound subjective, but in the world of baseball in Japan, questioning authority is not going to help. It would be disrespectful and dishonor to make long arguments with the boss. So even if the manager is objectively wrong, players will have to knuckle under. Do not build a bad relationship or burn bridges if possible.

Every run counts: You're going to notice teams trying to play for one run with bunting (which might sound obvious), but also on defense there are shifts. Even early in a game with a runner on third, expect the infield to play in. Sometimes the outfield will play in if they trust their pitcher.  Don't be shocked to see how aggressive defenses are in this case.

Fan Service is taken seriously: When we think of fanfest, it's a simple gathering of fans with a few autographs and some hellos from others. Japan will have crazy marketing in the views of American lenses. While you don't need to sign autographs to every fan out there, don't be a stiff to others when away from the game. There will be fans who will embrace you as you join the team.


With the new journey ahead, nothing will be easy. Nothing is guaranteed, which you're probably familiar with. I hope going away from North America can bring a new life in you and not just be a business trip. Open up, get out of the comfort zone and take advantage of the resources you have while adapting away.  

Don't take your trip overseas for granted. Embrace it. Enjoy it and live life to the fullest. Best of luck in your endeavors. 

Graveyard Baseball.


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Report: Seibu Lions sign Shogo Kimura to ikusei contract, change two jersey numbers

The Saitama Seibu Lions announced they signed infielder Shogo Kimura to an ikusei contract on Friday afternoon.

Kimura, 36, will be rehabbing as he is recovering from a torn ACL, which he suffered on June 22. Having him under an ikusei contract will be a road to recovery, according to Senior Director Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe.

In a limited time in 2016, Kimura had a slashline of .221/.262/.263 in 38 games and 95 at bats.  He only had three extra base hits for the entire season. Kimura spent time as a reserve infielder for both 3B and shortstop

This is the first time the Lions have used ikusei since 2015..Previously, he was with the Hiroshima Carp and Yokohama DeNA Baystars.  As an ikusei, he will be eligible to play in ni-gun games and will wear a triple-digit jersey number in No. 121.

In 2015, the Lions had 67 players on their 70-man roster with three players under ikusei contracts. Assuming that Kimura could earn an in-season promotion for 2017 and that they don't max out their roster, the Lions will have four roster spots available after the loss of Takayuki Kishi.


Other note: The Lions announced that Hideto Asamura will be wearing No. 3 after having No. 32 for his entire career with the team. Nabe-Q said he suggested the change as Asamura earned his way through a strong 2016 season. Infielder Kyohei Nagae will be switching from No. 59 to No. 32.

The last Seibu Lions player to wear No. 3 was Hiroyuki Nakajima from 2004-2012. Kazuhiro Kiyohara also wore this number from 1986-1996.  


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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Report: Rakuten Eagles to sign Takayuki Kishi

After filing for free agency several weeks ago, it appears the big question for Takayuki Kishi is finally answered.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are expected to sign Kishi to a four year contract on Thursday. His contract is estimated to be worth ¥1.6 billion (about $16 million) in total. If this was averaged out, it would make about $4 million in 2017, which is expected to be higher than Ernesto Mejia's salary.

Kishi, who will be 32 in December, is a Miyagi prefecture native as he went to high school in Natori, Miyagi and attended Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai before he was drafted by the Lions in 2006. He is essentially returning home to where his baseball career started.

He is the final Kibouwaku Pick in Seibu Lions history, as they would forego the first three rounds of the University draft that year in order to obtain his rights.

The Lions had no chance to retain Kishi with an offer that Rakuten made. They had a set offer at four years with the financial terms undisclosed, but it was well-under the ¥1.6 billion that Kishi will make with the Eagles.

Kishi put himself on the NPB map as the 2008 Japan Series MVP, where he would win two critical games, including a Game 6 where he finished a must-win outing in long relief. He also threw a no-hitter in 2014, the last one to date in NPB.

With Kishi gone, the Lions have five open roster spots on their 70-man roster. They will have some big holes to fill with several young pitchers in the fold. This includes Yusei Kikuchi leading the way, followed by three straight first round draft picks in Kona Takahashi, Shinsaburo Tawata and a future projected ace in Tatsuya Imai.

The Lions will now have to choose the compensation with Kishi being a Type A free agent. They can either select 80% of Kishi's salary from Rakuten in cash, or 50% of the salary plus an unprotected player of their choice from the Eagles roster. The Eagles will protect 28 players from being selected.

Last time the Eagles signed a free agent which requires compensation, Toshiaki Imae was picked up from the Chiba Lotte Marines. The Marines would select the cash option with no player deemed worthy enough to pickup.

Kishi is the third player to leave the Lions in the Type A or Type B range. Previously it was Yasuyuki Kataoka, which the Lions would take Ryota Wakiya as compensation from the Yomiuri Gaints. Hideaki Wakui also signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Lions took Taiki Nakago.

For us, this news was somewhat expected, but it also hurts. The Lions management refused to increase their offer when negotiating with Kishi before he filed for free agency. Historically, they don't put value on the ace pitcher like they do with an everyday hitter. It was a foregone conclusion he would leave when offered more money than what Mejia will be making.

The rotation will have to show some balance, but Kishi was also injured for two months in both 2015 and 2016. In the last two drafts, the Lions selected 12 pitchers combined. Unfortunately for Lions fans, there will be big shoes to fill with Kishi leaving for his hometown.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Graveyard Baseball Podcast: Lions ŌenDEN Episode 13

This is the 13th episode of the Lions ŌenDEN podcast.  In this episode, Christian and Wes talk about the Seibu Lions drat results, NPB Draft as a whole, a few offseason headlines and even discuss the U23 Baseball World Cup.

Other topics includes the Japan Series, retirements and more!

We apologize for any mispronunciations or errors that might take place in this podcast. Be sure to give us any feedback in the comments if possible. Click here to Download.  Click here if the embed doesn't work.


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